This is some feedback from clients recently returned from our Walk and Beach, Peru Brazil combination holiday. I put it up here because I really like the sentiment, it simply tallies with the thinking behind Pura Aventura holidays.“Peru was wonderful…..everything was so well organised, our guide was fantastic, very knowledgeable, and as for the Inca Trail itself….an experience that I will never forget.The four days of camping and trekking almost had Mai-Britt giving up (Dead Womans’ Pass almost living up to it’s name) but when we finally reached the Sun Gate we were both nearly in tears. It was a wonderful, emotional moment as you see Machu Pichhu for the first time.How people can just take the train and bus up I have no idea. We did it the right way in my mind, the hard and sweaty way but the right way. We earned it ! We all know what Machu Pichhu looks like, it’s an iconic image, but to see it for real was breathtaking.”The photo above was taken by clients a few years back but shows the tough approach to Dead Woman’s Pass. It also shows one of our porters in the background looking disconcertingly untroubled by the climb.If you see the full remarks below, more light is shed on the work our porters do. I also thought it was worth dropping in a photo of the view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate (that’s where you get your first views when coming in on the Inca Trail).
It is a quite extraordinary moment and an emotional one for most.What can I say about the holiday then…..
It was the most amazing holiday experience we have ever had. It was certainly the most adventurous challenge we have given ourselves on a holiday.
Peru was wonderful…..everything was so well organised, our guide was fantastic, very knowledgeable, and as for the Inca Trail itself….an experience that I will never forget.
The four days of camping and trekking almost had Mai-Britt giving up (Dead Womans’ Pass almost living up to it’s name) but when we finally reached the Sun Gate we were both nearly in tears. It was a wonderful, emotional moment as you see Machu Pichhu for the first time. How people can just take the train and bus up I have no idea.
We did it the right way in my mind, the hard and sweaty way but the right way. We earned it ! We all know what Machu Pichhu looks like, it’s an iconic image, but to see it for real was breathtaking.
We have some amazing memories. Listening to the porters laughing was one of the simpler things we appreciated. Given the hard lives they lead in the mountain villages we appreciated their hard work, the help they gave us and they always had a smile on their faces. Priceless !
Rio was a nice stop-off before we headed to Buzios to re-charge our batteries. We wish we’d extended the holiday and had an extra couple of days in Rio, but we can’t complain.
It’s always nice to have a couple of unexpected things happen or things go slightly wrong, it’s adds to the experience, but the local guides and Pura Aventura were quick to fix things and deal with it. There was a strike in Peru that meant we were forced to walk to the airport, as they blocked all the roads. We were always kept informed by our guide and with the help of the hotel we got to the airport with no problem. Another guide was even sent to the hotel to escort us there. Luckily we were picked up by a hotel mini-bus that picked his was past all the rocks and rubble dumped in the roads. Also, we were told we would be transferred by bus to Buzios with other people, which was not what was in our package. Not really an issue but we were meant to have a private transfer. Anyway a couple of phone calls later all was resolved. A small things, but you remember these things.
So a big thank you to Pura Aventura.We have certainly recommended you to our friends and colleagues, so I hope you benefit in the future with some more bookings.I know it’s a tough financial environment at the moment, but word of mouth counts for a lot when it comes to holiday experiences.We will certainly be back.
It’s February, it’s a bit dreary here in the UK and so I’ve decided to go with an image of a beach.
Not just any beach mind you, this is the main beach on the island of Boipeba in Brazil’s Bahia region. That’s up in the north east of the country.
You can get to Boipeba by ferry or air taxi (read ‘puddle jumper’) from the city of Salvador via the fairly well visited island neighbour of Morro do Sao Paolo. Then it’s a short boat ride across the estuary and you hop off on the end of the beach, next to the small bar (just behind where this picture was taken).
If you look carefully up on the bluff almost exactly in the middle of the frame, you will see some small buildings – thats the pousada we use. Set up by a friend of ours called Leandro and his wife. Your bags are carried by one of the gardeners in a wheelbarrow as you stroll along the beach towards your room on a hill.
The pousada itself is charming, comfortable, professional, laid-back, and enviro-responsible (solar heated water, recycled paper, energy saving bulbs, etc).
Rooms are in separate (all detached or semi-detached) bungalow units with balconies facing either East (for sunrise) or West (for sunset). They are all very private, have super comfortable king-size beds and hammocks on the balcony.
The gardens are beautifully kept, including an large cashew tree which fruits in November. There’s a newly completed swimming pool with a good sized deck around it with views down to the woods and sea below.
So that’s where I’d like to be right now, swinging in a hammock looking out over the beaches and forests of Bopieba.
But what’s the island itself like? Well, Boipeba feels remote, safe, friendly, unspoilt but without being a wilderness. The lack of cars and crowds is a big bonus. Just to reiterate that point, there are no roads, just some tracks and tractors.
It’s obviously set up for tourists (mostly Brazilian with some Europeans) but in a very low-key way. It doesn’t feel like a resort. The beaches are beautiful, the water warm and calm and the scenery behind is also gorgeous. The walking is easy and the temperature isn’t overbearing thanks to the light breeze.
I did most of my walking (inland and shoreline) barefoot – the entire island seems to be made of sand and very comfortable (and easiest) to walk barefoot as long as the sand isn’t too hot.
For lazing around, there’s a great variety of beaches – some would be perfect for families with children, others for couples, others for surfing etc. There are two great options within 10 minutes walk of the pousada and several more within a pleasant hour’s walk. You’re well looked after and in a very special place without it feeling like a resort.
For more active options, there’s a good list of things to do on land (walking, riding and cultural) and on the water (kayaking, exploring in a boat, swimming in the natural pools, fishing, etc.). Activities can be organised at very short notice so there’s great flexibility to accommodate mood and groups.
Who is Boipeba for?
Families – yes though probably best from 5 to pre-teen and for families who like to combine lazing with being active. The position of the pousada up high and layout of the rooms (larger rooms to share or next-door pairs) makes it safe and the parents can have some grown-up time in the evenings
Couples – yes undoubtedly a great honeymoon or other holiday visit anywhere from 3 to 7 days. It’s comfortable, peaceful, intimate, laid-back and professional.
It’s not for someone looking for luxury and being waited on hand and foot and high cuisine, nor is it for anyone who can’t manage a short walk and a flight or two of steps. If someone wants a beach-side flop and drop resort, this would be a bit of a waste.
Have a look here if you are now tempted to go on our Bahia Blend holiday to Brazil
Alternatively, read our holiday guide to Brazil
To me, this photo epitomizes real Costa Rica. I say “real” because in the last few years there has been an influx of both tourists and ex-pats who have undeniably left their mark on both the landscape and culture. There is no escaping the fact that in the large tourist areas, it’s as easy to get a Big Mac now as a traditional gallo pinto.
With an established infrastructure, friendly locals, some very chi-chi hotels and an array of adventurous pastimes, Costa Rica’s popularity is, of course, understandable. Being able to hop into a hire car and head off on a whim is obviously very tempting. Supping a rum-laced cocktail in your own private Jacuzzi, watching incandescent lava trails snake down Arenal volcano, is positively irresistible.
And that’s even before you’ve had your fourth drenching of the week on the way to work, umbrella akimbo, rushing for the number 28 bus.
But in spite of all that, the frills and creature comfort are not really what Costa Rica is about, at its heart. Head off the tourist trail and you are in a world of wildlife-rich jungle, rolling hillsides dotted with bubbling mud pots and cloudforests straight from a Peter Jackson film.
Even at Arenal, where the famous volcano has prompted a smattering of new hotels to cope with rising visitor numbers, it is possible to find some peace. This photo was taken from the Hanging Bridges, a series of discreet canopy walkways hidden between the trees.
Behind me was an equally stunning view across the valley to the mighty volcano, smoking moodily in the afternoon light. The only noise was the occasional squawk of a toucan, or a belch from the volcano itself.
So, perhaps one of the best things about Costa Rica is that you can have both. Spend the day rafting down a jungle river, then enjoy a freshly prepared, three-course meal by candlelight at a remote lodge huddled between the trees.
Or explore the forested trails of Corcovado – the “most biologically intense place on earth” according to National Geographic, before picking up a pot of freshly caught shrimp from a beachside soda in Dominical and settling down on the golden sands.
Even if you do get caught in a downpour (Costa Rica is green for a reason, you know), it will certainly be more palatable with that rum cocktail to hand.
You can experience both sides of Costa Rica on our Costa Rica Self drive holiday.